What kinds of monkeys live in Ghana?
If you visit Ghana, it’s only natural to ask yourself the above question. I mean, who doesn’t want to see monkeys!?
Luckily, there are quite a few species you should be able to find. So, keep reading to learn how to identify each monkey, ape, and primate, and learn some fun and interesting facts. Pictures and range maps are also included!
11 monkey species that live in Ghana:
#1. Olive Baboon
- Papio anubis
Also known as the Anubis Baboon.
- Adults grow up to 85 cm (33 in) long.
- Their long muzzles resemble a dog’s, and their tails are strangely bent as if they were broken.
- As their name suggests, their fur has an olive tint.
Olive Baboons are among the largest monkeys in Ghana!
You’ll find them in savannas, forests, and grasslands. These primates gather in groups of 15-150 members.
Their flexible diets, as well as their adaptability to different habitats, have made them the most widespread species of all baboons. Olive Baboons eat anything from plants to small animals. When hunting as a band, they can even take down small antelopes! Populations close to farmlands also prey on goats and sheep.
These monkeys follow a complex social hierarchy. Adult females form the core of the system, with social ranks passed down from mother to daughter. Several females create smaller sub-groups to groom each other and provide backup during conflicts. Meanwhile, males compete with one another to establish dominance.
#2. Patas Monkey
- Erythrocebus patas
Also known as the Wadi Monkey or Hussar Monkey.
- Adults are generally 61-89 cm (24-35 in) long and have 51-76 cm (20-30 in) tails.
- Males are much larger than females.
- White hair frames their dark faces. They have pale coats that grow reddish brown around their backs.
Patas Monkeys aren’t your average monkey in Ghana that lives in trees!
Instead, they are ground-dwellers known for their impressive speed. Patas Monkeys are the fastest sprinters among primates, clocking in at 55 km/h (34 mph). They roam savannahs where trees are sparse and widely spaced.
Troops of Patas Monkeys can contain up to 60 members, with only one adult male leading the females and juveniles. At night, they sleep together in trees where predators can’t reach them. Sometimes, they must boldly fight off wildcats and jackals at watering holes!
Since they live in arid habitats, they spend a lot of time finding food and water. These monkeys like to feed on sap leaking out from Acacia tree trunks. Where their territories encroach with human settlements, they’ve acquired a taste for farm crops.
#3. Tantalus Monkey
- Chlorocebus tantalus
- Adults are 30-83 cm (12-33 in) long, with 41-66 cm (16-26 in) tails.
- Males are notably larger than females.
- They have dark faces outlined with white fur.
- Their undersides are white, while the rest of their coats are grayish or yellow.
It’s common to encounter Tantalus Monkeys in Ghana near people due to urban expansion. This species thrives in woodlands, grasslands, and degraded forests. Groups of 30 individuals loiter around the edges of forests, always close to fresh water. Their varied diets include grasses, berries, and small animals, but they enjoy fruits the most.
Tantalus Monkeys don’t take kindly to strangers, aggressively screaming to shoo away intruders. They have 36 unique alarm calls for different situations and threats. They’re so loud because they aren’t as nimble as other monkeys in trees.
Bands of Tantalus Monkeys spend most of their days foraging on the ground. Cleverly, these primates store food inside their cheeks for later consumption. Once a feeding ground runs low on resources, they migrate to new areas.
#4. Lesser Spot-nosed Monkey
- Cercopithecus petaurista
Also known as the Lesser White-nosed Guenon.
- Adults are 100-120 cm (39-47 in) long and have 61 cm (24 in) long tails.
- As their name implies, they have prominent white fur on their noses.
- Light-colored tufts of fur cover their cheeks.
- Their undersides are cream, though the rest of their coats are brown and gray.
Lesser Spot-nosed Monkeys inhabit forests and scrublands in Ghana. They travel in groups of 20-30. With birds of prey circling overhead and leopards lurking on the ground, caution is a way of life for these monkeys. When a male spots a predator, you’ll hear a loud cat-like purr to alert others.
Sometimes, Lesser Spot-nosed Monkeys mingle with other species. They work together to spot danger and deter intruders. A juvenile male leaves his group for a new one once he’s mature enough. On the other hand, females stay with their original troops for life, acting as group caretakers.
#5. Olive Colobus
- Procolobus verus
Also known as the Green Colobus or Van Beneden’s Colobus.
- Adults grow up to 50 cm (20 in) long.
- Their coats are gray with a brown tint, and their undersides are paler in contrast.
Olive Colobuses are a vulnerable species affected by hunting and habitat loss. Still, they persist in swamps and rainforests. Look carefully! Their coloring makes them blend well into the foliage, hidden from predators. They’re also shy creatures, often fleeing at the slightest sense of danger.
Olive Colobuses are folivores. That means they mainly eat leaves, specifically young buds and shoots. Interestingly, their stomachs can digest plant leaves that are toxic to other monkeys in Ghana!
Olive Colobuses swing across branches with impressive grace. Bands include 3-15 individuals, with males and females having multiple partners. Males occasionally mate with another species known as Diana Monkeys. Interestingly, female Olive Colobuses carry their babies around using their mouths for the first few weeks!
#6. Green Monkey
- Chlorocebus sabaeus
Also known as Sabaeus Monkey.
- Adults have a body length of 30-60 cm (12-24 in). Their gold-tipped tails are 41-76 cm (16-30 in) long.
- They have yellowish hair surrounding their dark faces.
- These monkeys have a tinge of green and gold on their grayish coats. Their undersides are white in contrast.
If you spot a Green Monkey in Ghana, chances are there are more nearby! A community can harbor up to 80 individuals, often staying near fresh water. They go swimming in rivers to cool down when it gets too hot. These monkeys can survive in habitats such as rainforest outskirts, dry woodlands, and coastal areas.
60% of their waking hours are spent traveling and searching for food. They prefer fruits, seeds, and leaves. As opportunistic predators, Green Monkeys also eat insects, small lizards, crabs, and lungfish. Populations overlapping with urban regions are notorious for stealing food from unwary tourists. Stay vigilant! 🙂
These primates are quite vulnerable, so they’ve developed distinct calls to warn troop mates of predators. For example, barks indicate a leopard sighting, while chirps alert others of a snake slithering around. Green Monkeys are quieter in areas where hunting is prevalent to hide from poachers.
#7. Lowe’s Monkey
- Cercopithecus lowei
Also known as Lowe’s Mona Monkey.
- Adults can grow 32-53 cm (13-21 in) in length, with 67-90 cm (26-35 in) long tails.
- Their eyes are large, rounded, and reddish brown.
- Their coats are a mix of dark brown and gray, with white underparts. They also have frames of blonde hair on their faces.
Keep an eye out for these energetic monkeys in Ghana!
Lowe’s Monkeys reside in tropical and mangrove forests, with some populations coinciding with human settlements. On average, a group of Lowe’s Monkeys will have 6-16 members, with a dominant male acting as the leader.
Lowe’s Monkeys gorge themselves on fruits during the wet seasons. Then, they switch to a diet of leaves in dry seasons. You might also see them foraging for food scraps in garbage dumps. Occasionally, they have a taste for insects and invertebrates as well.
Unfortunately, this species is often hunted and poached in its native range. Their loud vocalizations make them easy targets. Females have wider vocal ranges, but males take on the duty of alerting the group when predators are nearby. At dusk and dawn, a male Lowe’s Monkey will climb a tall tree to bellow resounding calls.
#8. Mona Monkey
- Cercopithecus mona
- Adults are approximately 41-51 cm (16-20 in) long, with 52-73 cm (20-29 in) tails that become blacker towards the tip.
- They have fuzzy white hair on their cheeks and foreheads.
- Their coats are a mix of brown, gray, and brick red. In contrast, their underparts are creamy white.
Though they face habitat decline, Mona Monkeys in Ghana are widespread in lowland and mangrove forests. They enjoy loitering near riverbanks. About a dozen individuals converge to form a troop. If they sense a predator on the prowl, they all freeze and stay completely motionless to remain undetected.
Mona Monkeys have quite interesting vocalizations! For example, they squeak at each other while foraging, and their alarm calls sound like sneezes and high-pitched chirps. Meanwhile, dominant males make booming calls to establish their territories.
Mona Monkeys are most active in the early mornings and late afternoons, reserving the midday for rest and grooming. They can run and leap across tree gaps with athletic skill. They scour the canopies for fruits, flowers, leaves, and seeds. Brazenly, some specimens even hunt snakes!
#9. Senegal Bushbaby
- Galago senegalensis
Also known as the Northern Lesser Galago.
- Even as adults, these tiny creatures are only 9-21 cm (4-8 in) long, with 11-28 cm (4-11 in) tails.
- They have notably large and rounded eyes. Their ears, hands, and feet are also proportionally large.
- Their wooly coats range from gray to brown. Some have stripes and markings on their bodies.
Senegal Bushbabies are one of the most widespread primates in Ghana!
They thrive in dry woodlands and savannas. Don’t blink, or you’ll miss them! These fast little critters sprint and leap through the tangle of branches, using their long tails for balance.
What they lack in size, they make up for with an array of adaptive abilities. Senegal Bushbabies are equipped with large eyes to help them see in the dark of night. Also, their twitchy ears can detect the faintest sounds from the insects they feed on. Finally, their tongues are narrow enough to reach deep into cracks where bugs hide. These primates eat fruits, nuts, and tree sap if they can’t find prey.
- Check out our LIVE bird camera from Ghana HERE! At night it’s common to see bushbabies visiting the feeder. 🙂
Interestingly, Senegal Bushbabies got their name because their cries sound like that of a human infant! Family units of 2-5 mark their territories with urine to keep outsiders from trespassing. Adult females and their children sleep together in tree hollows, while adult males sleep alone. They tend to bite and spit when threatened, so try not to startle them.
#10. West African Potto
- Perodicticus potto
Also known as the Bush Bear, Tree Bear, and Softly-softly.
- Adults are 30-39 cm (12-15 in). Their tails can grow 4-10 cm (2-4 in) long.
- Their thick limbs are roughly the same length as their bodies!
- They have pointed snouts, and their coats are different shades of brown.
The West African Potto inhabits coastal and lowland forests where vegetation runs thick. Smaller specimens prefer warm habitats, while larger ones can withstand cooler mountain climates. While they mostly eat fruits, they can also feed on prey slugs and poisonous millipedes that other primates ignore.
Unlike most social primates, West African Pottos live alone. The only exceptions are females who care for their offspring. They don’t have the branch-swinging agility typically associated with monkeys. Instead, they are slow, quiet travelers. If you try to approach them, they might feel threatened and stay frozen still until you go away.
Sluggish as West African Pottos are, these night-dwelling primates aren’t entirely defenseless. Bony protrusions called scapular shields protect their necks and shoulders against biting predators. Additionally, they use these shields to knock their attackers off trees with a well-placed headbutt.
#11. White-thighed Colobus
- Colobus vellerosus
Also known as the Ursone Colobus Monkey.
- Adults are 61-67 cm (24-26 in) in length, with 75-93 cm (30-37 in) white tails.
- White hair prominently frames their black faces.
- They have black coats, though their thighs have patches of white hair. The crowns of their heads are black as well.
White-thighed Colobus monkeys in Ghana can adapt to many habitats.
They live in savannas, forested swamps, and lowland rainforests. You’ll spot them swinging across branches while their prehensile tails help maintain their balance.
White-thighed Colobuses can sit comfortably on rough branches because they have thick skin on their buttocks! They mostly eat seeds and young leaves, though they also prey on insects. Since their diet doesn’t give them much energy, they spend 70% of their day resting.
White-thighed Colobuses gather in communities of 5-30 individuals. Dominant males regularly infiltrate rival groups to recruit females to their own group. If you hear several of these animals snorting in unison, proceed with caution. This is usually a sign that a predator is lurking nearby!
For more information about animals in Ghana, check out these guides:
Which of these monkeys in Ghana is your favorite?
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